The Asian Mystery Illustrated in the History, Religion, and Present State of the Ansaireeh Or Nusairis of Syria

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Longman, Green, Longman, and Roberts, 1860 - Islamic sects - 299 pages

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(part 2 of 2) (part 1 was posted from another account due to word count limit)
E. Rituals. No ritualistic prayer. They personalize rituals! prayer is said to be Mohammad. So why engage in prayer
?! Zakat (alms) is Salman al-farisee. So why pay any religious dues or charity?!
despite the lack of ritualistic prayer, they do have prose and specific texts that only their sheikhs read in its place, on certain occasions, according to the author.
F. One ritual is referred to as their greatest mystery: their mass (called: Quddas), in which they gather to drink the sacred wine (in which they believe God/Ali is manifested), and they share an offering (meat or bread) (called: kurban). ((Christianity...anyone?))
In page 156, the author explicitly stated that strangers would be killed if they happen to witness the Quddas!
G. Places of worship. No actual mosques in the Muslim transitional sense, but Alawites have tombs/shrines that they frequent to ask for favors (healing the sick, or victory in a fight).
They pay sum to the tomb (ziarah) attendant.
They swear by the "saints" who are buried there.
In 174, paraphrased: they swear falsely by God, but fear breaking an oath by these "dead sheikhs and imams"
H. Women have no role in the Alawite religious system. Only 2 are mentioned in their manuscripts: Fatima, the daughter of Prophet Mohammad and wife of Ali; and Ummo Salama, a wife of the Prophet’s. Even Fatima, who is also the mother and grandmother of the 12 Imams in which all Shia Muslims believe including the off-shoot sect of the Alawites, is referred to in their books as "our Lord", and her name is clipped to take a male form in Arabic: Fatim, or Fatir!!
I. Feasts and “borrowed” traditions. They celebrate some feasts, such as the Adha eid (taken from mainstream Muslims), but their most honored feasts are the Nurooz (from Persians) and "kuzelleh" (according to author: a feast celebrated by the Christians of that territory). They strike the blood of the animal sacrifices on their doors (Jewish Passover?).
[their "borrowing" from other traditions isn't limited to feasts. Their sheikhs also wear red and white, like the Templars. And they have secret initiation rituals, and phrases and signs with which to recognize each other: similar to those used by the Templars, and Free Masons...]
They may have also “borrowed” the trinity from Catholicism, the repeated incarnations of God in humans from the Druzes and distantly from Indian/other Eastern religions, and many celebrated and highly respected figures in their religion come from the distant Persian history!
For a book about a very secretive religion, this is a very informative work, and a must read for those interested in the subject.
 

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(part 1 of 2) (part 2 to be posted from a friend's account due to word count limit)
This book is a good read, and very informative about this heretic sect of Islam: the Alawites (Ansaireeh).
A third
of the book speaks scarcely about Alawites and much more about Druzes and Ismaeeleeh, as a historical and theological introduction and background.
The book also has translations of large portions of some Alawite manuscripts.
The origin of this sect is mysterious, though thought to have sprung out of shiites Islam around the same time as Karamitah and Ismaeeleeh and even distantly related to Druzes. (all heretic sects of Islam). Their history is filled with persecution by others as much as wild blood thirst and aggression against others.
They are split into two main divisions: Shamseeh (who believe the absent imam is waiting in shams/the sun till the time of his return) and Kamreeh (he's in the kamar/moon). The former is also referred to as shimaleeh/northern, for they live in the northern part of the alawite mountains (and west-southern Turkey).
They belong to different tribes within each division: the Kilbeeh being the most historically visible (especially now, with Assad family belonging to them. They are kamreeh).
Shamseeh are thought to be native inhabitants of the land, while kamreeh immigrants from Persia and Iraq.
As for their religious beliefs, the author depends on a manuscript or two he had in his possission, other works by other authors, and his direct conversations with Alawites he lived amongst in the 1800s.
There is a lot of secrecy surrounding their religion due to them hiding doctrines, pretending to be Muslims with Muslims and Christians with Christians, and due to the majority of them being ignorant of their own doctrines.
Only few things are certain. Not only due to the secrecy, though I am sure it played a role. But mostly because even Alawite resources are inconsistent, and even conflicting.
He says (page 126): "if we cannot reconcile every imaginative statement of the Ansairee theology, we need neither wonder nor be deeply grieved" and in page 129, "..the inconsistencies into which the Ansairee writers could scarcely fail of falling".
A. Divinity. God manifested Himself, according to them, in Ali and his descendants as well as in the founders of the sect (Abu shou'ib Ibn Nausair, al-kassibi, amongst others).
God they believe was in the form of men many times throughout their history, but He has always been one and the same with Ali (Prophet Mohammad’s cousin and son-in-law).
God’s human manifestations though comes usually in a trinities (many over the ages), the last and 'most perfect' was his descent as Ali, veiled by Mohammad, and Salman al-farisee (the Persian).
In every trinity, the first is called Maana (the meaning, the essence), and his luminous spiritual light needs a veil: this is the second personification, called Ism (name), and the third is called: bab (literally: door), through which people will reach and learn the religion in its ‘true form’
B. Belief in incarnation and transmigration of the souls.
C. Doctrines. Religious knowledge of the Alawites is divided into two tiers, zaher (obvious or shown, outer) which is supposedly false and shouldn't be followed (applies to the literal meaning of the Quran for instance), and batin (hidden or concealed, inner), which is the true doctrine. This opens the gates wide for whatever the Alawaite’s sheikhs want to teach. They can interpret whatever to mean whatever that suits them, and claim it to be that inner knowledge they possess. (In all likelihood, this is where all the inconsistencies became institutionalized in this heretic sect of Islam. That and the ignorance of its followers over the ages since its inception).
D. Quran in its known form becomes zaher (as mentioned above). Its true meaning is whatever they want it to be. The literal meaning that Muslims follow is misleading and false in the eyes of Alawites. Hence the Alawite opinion that Muslims are not true believers
 

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